Journal Article

<i>Hubble Space Telescope</i> transmission spectroscopy of the exoplanet HD 189733b: high-altitude atmospheric haze in the optical and near-ultraviolet with STIS

D. K. Sing, F. Pont, S. Aigrain, D. Charbonneau, J.-M. Désert, N. Gibson, R. Gilliland, W. Hayek, G. Henry, H. Knutson, A. Lecavelier des Etangs, T. Mazeh and A. Shporer

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 416, issue 2, pages 1443-1455
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Hubble Space Telescope transmission spectroscopy of the exoplanet HD 189733b: high-altitude atmospheric haze in the optical and near-ultraviolet with STIS

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We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) optical and near-ultraviolet transmission spectra of the transiting hot Jupiter HD 189733b, taken with the repaired Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) instrument. The resulting spectra cover the range 2900–5700 Å and reach per exposure signal-to-noise ratio levels greater than 11 000 within a 500-Å bandwidth. We used time series spectra obtained during two transit events to determine the wavelength dependence of the planetary radius and measure the exoplanet’s atmospheric transmission spectrum for the first time over this wavelength range. Our measurements, in conjunction with existing HST spectra, now provide a broad-band transmission spectrum covering the full optical regime. The STIS data also show unambiguous evidence of a large occulted stellar spot during one of our transit events, which we use to place constraints on the characteristics of the K dwarf’s stellar spots, estimating spot temperatures around Teff∼ 4250 K. With contemporaneous ground-based photometric monitoring of the stellar variability, we also measure the correlation between the stellar activity level and transit-measured planet-to-star radius contrast, which is in good agreement with predictions. We find a planetary transmission spectrum in good agreement with that of Rayleigh scattering from a high-altitude atmospheric haze as previously found from HST Advanced Camera for Surveys. The high-altitude haze is now found to cover the entire optical regime and is well characterized by Rayleigh scattering. These findings suggest that haze may be a globally dominant atmospheric feature of the planet which would result in a high optical albedo at shorter optical wavelengths.

Keywords: techniques: spectroscopic; stars: individual: HD 189733; planetary systems

Journal Article.  8874 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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